(A) Upon the filing of any application for increase provided for by section 4909.18 of the Revised Code the public utility shall forthwith publish notice of such application, in a form approved by the public utilities commission, once a week for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper published and in general circulation throughout the territory in which such public utility operates and directly affected by the matters referred to in said application . The notice shall include instructions for direct electronic access to the application or other documents on file with the public utilities commission. The first publication of the notice shall be made in its entirety and may be made in a preprinted insert in the newspaper. The second publication may be abbreviated if all of the following apply:
(1) The abbreviated notice is at least one-fourth of the size of the notice in the first publication.
(2) At the same time the abbreviated notice is published, the notice in the first publication is posted in its entirety on the newspaper's web site, if the newspaper has a web site, and the commission's web site.
(3) The abbreviated notice contains a statement of the web site posting or postings, as applicable, and instructions for accessing the posting or postings.
(B) The commission shall determine a format for the content of all notices required under this section, and shall consider costs and technological efficiencies in making that determination. Defects in the publication of said notice shall not affect the legality or sufficiency of notices published under this section provided that the commission has substantially complied with this section, as described in section 4905.09 of the Revised Code.
(C) The commission shall at once cause an investigation to be made of the facts set forth in said application and the exhibits attached thereto, and of the matters connected therewith. Within a reasonable time as determined by the commission after the filing of such application, a written report shall be made and filed with the commission, a copy of which shall be sent by certified mail to the applicant, the mayor of any municipal corporation affected by the application, and to such other persons as the commission deems interested. If no objection to such report is made by any party interested within thirty days after such filing and the mailing of copies thereof, the commission shall fix a date within ten days for the final hearing upon said application, giving notice thereof to all parties interested. At such hearing the commission shall consider the matters set forth in said application and make such order respecting the prayer thereof as to it seems just and reasonable.
If objections are filed with the commission, the commission shall cause a pre-hearing conference to be held between all parties, intervenors, and the commission staff in all cases involving more than one hundred thousand customers.
If objections are filed with the commission within thirty days after the filing of such report, the application shall be promptly set down for hearing of testimony before the commission or be forthwith referred to an attorney examiner designated by the commission to take all the testimony with respect to the application and objections which may be offered by any interested party. The commission shall also fix the time and place to take testimony giving ten days' written notice of such time and place to all parties. The taking of testimony shall commence on the date fixed in said notice and shall continue from day to day until completed. The attorney examiner may, upon good cause shown, grant continuances for not more than three days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. The commission may grant continuances for a longer period than three days upon its order for good cause shown. At any hearing involving rates or charges sought to be increased, the burden of proof to show that the increased rates or charges are just and reasonable shall be on the public utility.
When the taking of testimony is completed, a full and complete record of such testimony noting all objections made and exceptions taken by any party or counsel, shall be made, signed by the attorney examiner, and filed with the commission. Prior to the formal consideration of the application by the commission and the rendition of any order respecting the prayer of the application, a quorum of the commission shall consider the recommended opinion and order of the attorney examiner, in an open, formal, public proceeding in which an overview and explanation is presented orally. Thereafter, the commission shall make such order respecting the prayer of such application as seems just and reasonable to it.
In all proceedings before the commission in which the taking of testimony is required, except when heard by the commission, attorney examiners shall be assigned by the commission to take such testimony and fix the time and place therefor, and such testimony shall be taken in the manner prescribed in this section. All testimony shall be under oath or affirmation and taken down and transcribed by a reporter and made a part of the record in the case. The commission may hear the testimony or any part thereof in any case without having the same referred to an attorney examiner and may take additional testimony. Testimony shall be taken and a record made in accordance with such general rules as the commission prescribes and subject to such special instructions in any proceedings as it, by order, directs.
Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.20, HB 95, §1, eff. 9/9/2011.
Effective Date: 01-11-1983 .